16 Mar Journey to the Land of Ubuntu -- Day 3

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Today was a full day of enriching experiences. We started the day worshipping with the Athlone Church of Christ. Athlone is a former Colored Township outside Cape Town. The minister there is Peter Manuel. We were honored guests for the worship services there, and Ernest Cato, the minister traveling with us, was the guest speaker. We enjoyed the singing and fellowship tremendously. I met Peter Manuel in 1995. He has worked diligently with this congregation and it has grown into a very strong and active congregation with many outreach programs in the local community. The most ambitious work that they are engaged in is a missionary outreach to the nation of Namibia.

Namibia is an almost forgotten country bordering South Africa to the Northwest on the Atlantic Ocean. It has a small population and is relatively poor. They gained their independence from South Africa in 1990 and its capital city is Windhoek. It is named after the Namib Desert.

 

Robbin IslandFollowing worship services, we took a ferry to Robbin Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 17 of his 27 years in prison. We had the unique experience of visiting the cell where he stayed, and I was able to actually enter and close the bars in one of the single cells. The brief experience of such a small space with no toilet or other amenities except a thin mattress on the floor was quite chilling. We toured the group cells, and our tour guide was a former prisoner who told us about the harsh conditions, beatings, humiliations, and hard labor. He also told of the determination of the political prisoners. The most impressive commitment they made to themselves was that no prisoner who came to Robbin Island illiterate or uneducated would leave in that condition. They conducted a system of education for their fellow prisoners that rivaled a university education. Many of the political prisoners were professors at Black universities, or lawyers, and other educated activists. The prison population worked ingeniously to maintain morale and ensure that all prisoners left stronger for the cause of freedom than when they entered.

The tour of Robbin Island filled the conversations upon our return to the mainland, and punctuated our dinner conversation at the Green Dolphin Restaurant on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Cape Town has so much to offer tourists. And there is a great secret. The finest meals at great restaurants are served at very reasonable prices. And the food is delicious!

 

Table MountainThroughout the day, we were treated to grand vistas of Table Mountain as the backdrop for the Cape Town waterfront. Tomorrow we will get to experience the beauty of that magnificent mountain up close and personal, as we ascend to the summit at the beginning of our day. The remainder of the day will be spent traveling to Cape Good Hope where we will dine at the Two Oceans Restaurant at the Cape.

 

More to come tomorrow.

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